Saturday, 8 January 2011

New year blues

It was my first time in 2011 back on the stall today. And I well and truly stuffed it! Am feeling hugely disappointed and sorry for myself. Sitting on my sofa writing this under a mountain of blankets, (snotty!) tissues and mugs of lemsip.....and with quite a few cupcakes stored in the fridge downstairs. After a very hectic first week back at work, I seemed to have picked up a 'new year' virus and though I tried my very best (and stayed up very late and got up super early to finish the little blighters), I had to admit defeat a couple of hours in today and get home to bed. So the grand return to the stall after a month off, was not quite as I hoped. Rather than get too down, I have decided to pretend it was a wee practice run and that next fortnight...Saturday 22nd January, is the real deal. I will be there, fighting fit, and with some new flavours and renewed enthusiasm for my cupcakes (few cross words were exchanged during the course of last night and today!).
Over the next month or so I'm thinking cakes may have to be low fat, reduced calorie, fresh fruit toppings based on what quite a few people were saying today ('they look beautiful but I'm on a diet!)....
Not sure how sure I am of this idea, but I have also been thinking about extending my offering to include cookies. Have come across some really lovely flavours while I've been researching cupcakes and thought it might be a nice compliment to the cakes (and to those who aren't particular fans of sponge and icing...crazy I know but there are some). Might give them a go and see what people think.
Right. Off to blow my nose. And eat some of those leftover cakes.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Happy Christmas!

It was my last stall day of 2010 yesterday. A bit slower than usual but managed to sell out by mid afternoon and the conditions weren't quite as arctic as last time...
I had planned to go festive but wasn't feeling very Christmassy this week so the flavours on offer were a selection of favourites including Amelie (maple syrup and cinnamon) and Polly (chocolate and coconut). Did introduce 'Brad' - an oreo cookie and cream sponge and topping. Was Very Popular so think he might be a keeper. Am not a complete bah humbug though. Got a few of these hanging off my tree at home and will be baking some Christmas cupcake boxes for friends and family over the next few weeks. Please get in touch with any orders.

Will be back on my stall Saturday 8th January. Looking forward to another year of cupcake fun and games. You never know....2011 may be the year Laineys cupcakes finally becomes the tea shop dream I've had for so long. Happy Christmas!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Why am I doing this?

I asked myself that question several times last weekend as my hands siezed up and I eventually lost the feeling in my whole body. When I cheerily left my house with my trays of cupcakes...I don't think I'd fully realised how cold it was and how standing on a stall, exposed on holloway road to the elements of the 'big freeze' was probably not going to be the best way to spend a Saturday. 5 hours later when I got home, strapped myself to the radiator to thaw out, I asked myself the question again. Why am I doing this?

I love doing my stall. I love selling my cupcakes to regular, old and new faces, hearing what people think of the cake names, my stall set up, giving me feedback on new flavours I'm trying. I HATE being cold and being cold last Saturday definitely took away all the enjoyment of running a market stall. I am seriously questioning why I am doing this and how I am going to make it through to spring. Santa better bring me some thermals and some genius full body hot warming device otherwise the people of archway are going to have to go elsewhere for their cake fix...

Am trying to get in the spirit of the forthcoming festivities with some new flavours. Introduced 'Mary'; not very subtle I know! She's a spiced cranberry sponge with ginger creamcheese frosting. 'Geoffrey' who is a very sophisticated spiced ginger and date sponge with lemon flavoured topping and 'Lucy', a chocolate and orange sponge with orange chocolate buttercream topping. I'm spending today researching which flavours will be on the stall next will be my last trading day for 2010. I've got some winter decorations to use including a snowflake cutter so they'll at least look Christmassy.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Cupcakes are definately not over....

Keep reading that cupcakes are over....not true! And who'd have thought they'd be more popular during winter? Was worried sales on the stall would go down as it got colder but I've been selling out a lot quicker recently. Trying to decide whether I brave the cold and make more so I'm there longer or enjoy the couple of hours I'm trying not to stop the feeling in my toes (tights, 2 pairs of socks, legwarmers and ugg boots don't work!) and disappoint anyone who comes by after 2o/c......I love winter flavours though and am really enjoying trying out all those spiced recipes with pumpkin, carrot, parsnip and using the seasonal celebrations to inspire me (toffee apple for bonfire night, cranberries and nutmeg for Christmas and maybe some low fat ones ready for the NY when everyone decides to start their diets!).

I've decided to set myself a project (and to help keep me inspired in the kitchen). I have bought the BEST cupcake book. Written by an American (best cupcake books always are), which makes the whole measurement thing tricky (just don't get cups and sticks of stuff?!) but it's so fabby cause it has literally hundreds of recipes.'s laid out with all the sponge flavours in one section, a whole host of frostings and then other recipes for things like fillings, decorations etc. Then at the back it lists out which sponge go best with which toppings. Combos galore. Brilliant. So...the project. Every fortnight, I'm committing to making one new recipe for the stall working through this book from start to finish. This means sometimes making cakes I'm not keen on (lavender...yuck) and trying out some weird and wonderful combos (licorice and peppermint - sounds disgusting). Going to blog about the new recipe - how easy it was to make, how it tastes and looks and then how it sold on the stall (and any customer feedback). If they're popular they can become part of the menu. When I add new cakes to the list, they need a name, and that's where I'll need some help. I'm starting to struggle coming up with names that suit the cakes and Laineys afternoon cakes branding. On the stall this morning as I was writing out the cake tags, I was struggling with a new flavour - ginger with ginger cream cheese frosting - when a lovely little regular stopped by the stall and leant a hand. We named it after him and luckily (phew) he has a very cool name. So. Bertie is now part of the gang.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

It's been a while since I've been on my blog so lots to update on. Most people have a break over summer but laineys cakes has been super busy! Am still loving the stall. Fitting it in around my full time job is sometimes tricky but its all worth it once I'm behind my little pitch, with my pinny on and my bunting blowing in the breeze! Its also a great way to promote laineys cakes wider than my friends and family and I've started to increase the orders coming in from people I'm not already in touch with. Have done a couple of bespoke orders over the past few months, including a wedding, charity event and more recently - a birthday box with a company logo. This was for the lovely Reem and Jenai (Jenai's birthday) - locals to Archway and very talented designers who have kindly offered to help with building me a website. Am super excited about the next step of building up my little enterprise and have already talked about lots of ideas to help promote my wee business. I'll be keeping everyone up to date with progress on here - so watch this space!

Have also fully launched the idea of names for my cakes. Instead of ordering a 'chocolate' or 'carrot' cake - customers get to choose their cake by a name. On the stall this week we had the tempting 'Lucinda' (a lovely looking white chocolate and raspberry cupcake), the familiar 'Bob' (a chocolate sponge with chocolate buttercream) and a new flavour 'Daisy' (a citrus sponge of orange and lemon with lemon topping). I'm enjoying thinking up new names to go with the flavours but trying to decide whether they should stay the same or if I should regularly change was lovely and funny to hear people ask for '2 Bob's please' or 'I'll take a Lucinda and a Daisy'. Cute though and part of my idea for laineys cakes is the whole experience. I want everyone having one of my creations to enjoy the process - not just the taste but the choosing, taking it away and tasting!

As well as bespoke orders keeping me busy, I got to try out the cakes at a different venue when I sold from The Lock Tavern, Camden last Sunday. Very different environment, but they went down well and it seems a cupcake is the perfect way to end a Sunday Roast in the local boozer while watching some great bands. They sold out in about 2 hours and people were coming back for more! (probably something to do with the alcohol....). Might be a regular thing and was thinking next time, I could do some cocktail inspired cupcakes. Going to make a batch this weekend to try out on friends before I release on the general public.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

It's a family affair!

So. Laineys cupcake stall is becoming a bit of a family affair. I've got cake stands from Nana Winne and Auntie Marilyn. Chef jacket from Mum and Dad. And yesterday, my new favourite thing. A tea cosy - handmade by Aunt Marjorie. No sooner had it gone out on the stall as another 'prop', a passer by stopped and asked how much it was. My glare of 'back right off' seemed to do the trick. It didn't help that I'd been standing in the cold and wet for over 2 hours, having sold only a handful of cakes, and she was asking me about my newly acquired cosy! If you're not buying cakes...move along!
Tried a new display yesterday, using little saucers to sit one of each flavour on and then writing out the sponge/topping detail for people to match up with the rest of the display. Seemed to work although people still get pretty confused! Even though it was a cold and rainy day, and I didn't quite manage to sell out, it was still relatively successful and lots of nice comments again. No friendly faces though so please come by next trade day if you're free...will be there on Saturday 12th June (yes...I know...England's first World Cup game but that's not until the evening and I may even do some football inspired cupcakes for the WAG's!)

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Bunting is my new best friend

Every fortnight, I try and improve my stall and bunting was the new addition last time. I had 2 sets (nice and cheap version from a very reliable high street retailer) and another one I got especially made (which I love and want to put up all round the flat). It looked great - very retro fete. If anyone has any ideas for what else the stall needs, let me know. Don't want to distract too much from the cakes of course but fun 'dressing' my pitch and its good practice for what looks good when/if I finally get a shop.....

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Market day

Been up early baking, and just about to leave to set up my stall for the market today. Shame the weather isn't looking that nice but looking forward to putting up my new bunting! 4 flavours today - carrot, vanilla, chocolate and white chocolate and strawberry. Will update with photos and news of how it went...